The perilous process of graduation

After almost four years of classes, papers, coffee, group work drama, transportation fun,  budget cuts and the hullabaloo of getting a football team, my time at Georgia State is almost done! This, of course, means it’s time to graduate. You would expect this to be easy, right?

No.

Step 1: You must apply to graduate two semesters in advance. The problem is, no one really tells you when you need to graduate–no reminder emails are sent to suggest you might be ripe and ready for it–so you must go find the application yourself and fill it out, which is easy until they request a payment of $50. I am not sure if this is protocol at any other school, but here, you pay as much applying to exit as you did applying to enter!

Step 2: Provided you did not forget to apply by the deadline, and now must prolong your college career by at least another semester, you are now pending!

Step 3: Continue pending.

Step 4: Really, continue pending. (I submitted my application on Aug. 30 and as of Oct. 22, it is still pending.)

Step 5: Grow bored of waiting/worried wondering if you managed to screw something up somehow and are now terrified for the future, skulk around the graduation website and discover that your academic adviser is meant to contact you “4 to 8 weeks” after applying. Closer to 8, perhaps.

Step 6: Take matters into your own hands and contact adviser.

Step 7: Adviser informs you that he sent you an official graduation audit in the mail! But you live 20 minutes away from campus and have seen no such thing, so, baffled, you go get another copy. The person working the desk fails to inform you that you must have your department head sign the audit, which is literally a printout of the academic evaluations that show what classes have been taken over your career to date. You carry on, not knowing this intensely important detail, until a classmate–also griping about this mess of bureaucracy that is graduation–points this out.

Step 8: The next day, the graduation audit arrives in the mail. It was postmarked at least a week ago. Again, 20 minutes from campus. Atlanta to Decatur. The postal system baffles me.

Step 9: Arrange to give audit to famously disorganized department head (I went in his office once; it was a huge pile of manila folders so high you’d need a sherpa to fully explore it) for signing. Drop it off at his office.

Step 10: One week later, back to the panic, worrying that once again you did something wrong even though, literally, things are out of your hands.

Step 10 is my current step.

Good old Georgia State!

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